Be nice to the travel agent, or your luggage may get “lost”!

Travel guru Chris Elliott posted a link to the following article at the AOL Travel site, called “Confessions of a ticket agent.”

In essence, it was a first-hand account of some of the more amusing and interesting stories about life as an airline ticketing agent. For Travelite readers, though, one section, titled “Payback for rude customers” is notable. In it, the agent writes:

Most customers are pretty pleasant, but there are passengers who are pretty demanding. They think the world revolves around them — those type A personalities — and there’s nothing you can say or do to satisfy them.

In the check in process, if someone’s being rude or mean, or just not cooperating with the necessary procedures, we can send them through an additional screening process which will require them to open every piece of luggage and have it inspected, thoroughly.

And I can recall situations where bags have ended up in different destinations on purpose when a passenger has been difficult—they might be going to South Bend, but their bag will get tagged to Singapore because they were really rude. Or Manchester, England, instead of Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, it happens.

There are two very obvious lessons here:

  • Don’t be rude to other people, including the “little people” in life who can help make or break your day.
  • Don’t check in any luggage

Every so often, I witness a person acting extremely boorish. They lose their temper, behave like little children, insult strangers to their face, or yell in public at people who are not their immediate family members. It’s hard for me to have much respect for someone who has so little control over themselves, but here is a great example of how someone can make sure you pay for your behavior.

So… the ticketing agent might still decide to assign you a middle seat between two oversized people, but at least if you don’t have any check-in luggage, you won’t be left stranded in a faraway city trying to buy clothes at the overpriced hotel gift shop because your bag is missing—or is being returned to you when you get home.